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Jun 15, 2010 06:41 AM

Mushy Quinoa

When I cook my Quinoa it always comes out mushy and stuck together never light and fluffy. Does anyone have any idea what I am doing wrong. Thanks in advance.

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  1. You are probably using too much water. Does the water all absorb when cooking if you keep the lid closed? If not, you are using too much water. A little too much is ok; just crack the lid and let some steam off, but too much water will overcook the quinoa and make it mushy.

    I have found that adding butter at the beginning helps make it fluffier, but it won't do too much good if there is too much water to begin with.

    2 Replies
    1. re: barryg

      I use a ratio of 2 cups water to 1 cup Quinoa. It all does absorb but like I said......Leaves it Mushy

      1. re: Rippin200

        I was using 2:1 and had big problems with my latest batch of quinoa being wet and mushy or even having to strain it. If it has sprouted the tail and there is still water, you need to cut back. At this point I just do about 1.5-2" of water over the level of the quinoa in the pot and it comes out fine. You can always add more water if it's not done.

        I think the water required may depend on the freshness of the batch you have.

    2. A few suggestions for fluffy quinoa: the normal ratio is 2 water to 1 quinoa to 1 tsp salt. If you find it's mushy, cut the amont of water back by 1/3 cup but try the other techniques suggested here first. If you're still having mushy issues, then cut the water back.

      Rinse the quinoa first in a strainer under cold running water to rid it of the natural saponin coating. Add the quinoa to the cold salted water and when it comes to a rolling boil, turn the down the heat down to medium low. Don't cover the pot completely, allow the steam to vent slightly. Cook over a medium low flame for 12-15 minutes. When the quinoa is done and has sprouted it's tail, uncover the pan, turn the heat up to medium and fluff the quinoa with a fork to evaporate the remaining water. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

      Try toasting the grain a little before cooking; it will not alleviate the mushy issue but it will give you a nice nutty flavor profile.

      Another thought: are you using the proper measuring cups, dry and liquid, to measure the quinoa and water? Just checking...

      5 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        Yes I did meaure dry ingredients in a dry measuring cup and liquid in a fluid measuring cup. I will try cutting back on the water a tad and leaving the lid cracked. I am Determined to get this correct!!! Any favorite recipes???

        1. re: Rippin200

          And you will get it right. Here's a favorite of mine, it's simple and quick, with added chick peas for more protein, and has a nice lemony-tahini based dressing. I also add chopped red peppers to this for more color and just a pinch of something with heat. like cayenne:

          She has a few more quinoa recipes at her site, check under grains.

          You can switch this salad up by adding rehydrated golden raisins, toasted pine nuts or chopped pistashios, sauteed onions and garlic, cinnamon, cumin, fresh ginger, a pinch or more of cayenne and plenty of chopped cilantro to the cooked quinoa and chick peas. If you don't like cilantro, substitute parsley. Dress with a little olive oil and season well. Cook your quinoa in light chicken or vegetable stock for extra flavor.

          You can also use quinoa as a base for a mixed vegetable biryani; it's not just for salads.


          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Have you tried her breakfast quinoa yet? I keep saying I'm going to try it, but haven't. I bet it is delicious. Had breakfast quinoa at WDW when we went there and I swore after that I'd never eat oatmeal again!

          2. re: Rippin200

            I boil water (2c) in a heavy pot, add quinoa (1c), put on a tight lid and turn it off. Leave it alone for 20 minutes. Light, fluffy and dry.
            I've also put the quinoa in before it boils, then turned it off (with the lid on) when it boils. Same result.
            You don't boil it into mush that way.

            I don't find the type of measuring cup matters in this case; volume ratio is fine.

            1. re: pitu

              I just copied your exact method and that did not come out! All the water was still unabsorbed when I uncovered the quinoa 20 minutes later. Are you sure you didn't miss a step? I guess I'll go back to my old method. I thought this sounded easier. :(

        2. I sautee onions, garlic, etc. in some olive oil. Then I add my quinoa and "toast" it for about 5 minutes until it turns a nice golden color. Then I add chicken or vegetable stock (2 c for 1 c quinoa), bring to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes. Remove the top, fluff with fork and it's done. Sometimes before the end of the saute, I'll add mushrooms or English peas - then I might add an extra 1/4 c. of stock. Easy, delicious and the kids actually ask me to make it all the time!

          1 Reply
          1. re: 5busyrussells

            Oh, I do like that toasting step for grains. I haven't tried the breakfast quinoa but will when the weather gets cooler. Thanks for the heads up.

          2. After rinsing my quinoa well, I dry (well, damp) toast it a bit, then add water or broth to about 1/2 an inch over the quinoa and simmer for 10 minutes. Then I dump it into a strainer, add an inch of water into the pan, put the strainer over the water, put the lid on (it doesn't completely cover it but that's OK) and steam it for another 10 minutes. (Got this method from Epicurious.) Perfect, fluffy quinoa every time. I always regret when I try to shortcut by just simmering and skipping the steaming step.

            1. 1 cup quinoa to 1-1/2 cups water. Bring the water to a boil, add a bit of salt and stir in the quinoa. Let it come back to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. If there's still any water left, which there usually isn't, just drain it off.

              I find most quinoa ratios - 2:1 are the problem. Try it with this reduced amount of liquid.